National, Front Page

Intolerable hydraulic horn causes ‘deafness’

Published : 13 Sep 2019 09:39 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 07:14 PM

The hydraulic horn of vehicles has become a disturbingly harmful element in everyday life of the city dwellers, making hundreds suffer from various diseases caused by the sound pollution. A large number of Dhaka dwellers are suffering from a variety of health complications including deafness and hearing loss due to the acute continuous sound pollution prevailing in the city from dawn to midnight.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), the tolerance level for audible words is a maximum of 40 decibels. Hydraulic horn spreads sound up to 120 decibels. Duration of hydraulic horncan effect worse if it last at least 9 seconds.

Renowned physician Pran Gopal Datta said a mother gave birth to a baby just a few years ago due to an excessive sudden loud sound in Chittagong Medical. On that case, a law imposed to prevent earsplitting noise. Hearing loss of 71-90 decibels cannot be reversed. In this case, the hearing aid does not work.

In the capital, however, the noise level is more than 135 decibels. Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) completely banned horns in 2007.Several areas including the capital's airport, Mirpur, Gulshan and Dhanmondi. Hornswere also seized and fined. Nose, ear and throat specialist andProfessorDrManilalAichmentions the excessive sound pollution effect on human body.

He says, “Sound above tolerable levels make people mentally and physically ill. Due to the constant contamination of the ear tissues, the normal sound is not heard.” Citing a study he added, the shocks of noise pollution would continue to cause the hearing loss of 50 million of the 1.5 million residents of the capital by 2021. At one point, you will become completely deaf.

On August 22, 2017, lawyer ManjilMorshed filed a writ petition in the High Court on behalf of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh. The next day, the High Court issued a directive to close the hydraulic horn within 48 hours. At the same time, imported horns from the market were seized within seven days and hydraulic horn playing cars were ordered to be seized within three days. About four months later, the lawyer also sought the High Court's directive to stop the production of hydraulic horn.

The order banned all horns from playing at residential and VIP areas around 10pm and driving at speeds up to 20km/h. In the same direction, it was asked to form a Horn Monitoring Team through Kakrail-Magbazar through Mymensingh Road, Shahbag-Science Laboratory Road to Gabtali. Following these directives, the law enforcers raided several places, seized several cars, and destroyed thousands of hydraulic horns.
However, no further initiative has been taken in the last year and a half to close horns.

Drivers often argues that pedestrians do not hear when the noise of the horn is low. However, once the hydraulic horn is pressed, they leave the road. Therefore, the owners put a high-pitched sound in the car. In addition, pedestrians complain that the drivers are playing the horn horns without any reason.

Environmentalists have demanded a maximum fine of Rs 100 for playing the hydraulic horn under the Motor Vehicles Act of 1983. They alsourged level of punishment should be increased, along with strict enforcement of existing law. Environmental Protection Movement, chair,Abu Naser Khan told, if the activities of law enforcement agencies and the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) were not strengthened, the use of high-pitched noise would not stop.

He recommended that the police, the BRTA and the stakeholders to create an integrated roadmap under the guidance of the environment department. Meanwhile, the production of hydraulic horn has been increasing freely as imports have increased in the last one and a half years due to lack of implementation of the High Court directive.

The banned hydraulic horn can be found easily in shops of motor parts in the capital's Banglamotar, Eskaton, Vijayanagar, Nawabpur, Dholikhal. Dhaka Motor Parts Dealer Welfare Association President Sahidur Rahman Sahidtold,police and RAB cars were using hydraulic horn freely. If they interrupt, we will not be able to sell hydraulic horn. He, however, admitted he did not know of the High Court's ban on the use of hydraulic horn.

AlthoughBangladesh Road and Transport Authority(BRTA) Road Safety Branch Director Sheikh Mohammed MahbubRabbani insisted, regular mobile courts were being conducted to stop the hydraulic horn. Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) traffic joint north and south joint commissioners Mosleh Uddin Ahmed and Mofiz Uddin Ahmed, both referred to the work force crisis, they told that, under the directives of the High Court, regular operations were underway to stop the use and production of hydraulic horn. However, a collaborativeeffort is needed to stop it completely, they added.